“In the beginning, when we were winning, when the smiles were genuine” – Manic Street Preachers.
It’s been ages since I moved to Poland, (10 months!!) and I still believe that we are all perpetual students until the day we die. We are always learning, always studying. We are forever on a learning cycle on this planet. As far as learning languages is concerned, I know I haven’t always been the best at it. But I always want to improve. At school I studied French, German and Latin and at times, I wasn’t totally into those subjects. I can still travel around French and German speaking countries and read menus, and get by. As it turned out, the LATIN I used to slag off in the Paddy Campbell days, came in DAMN HANDY. But I was a speaking novice. I couldn’t engage in much stimulating conversation. This is a rejig of an old post, which originally appeared on http://dontstopliving.net/ , reconstituted in the wake of my new start learning Polish in Warsaw.
In 2010, I spent a month in Uruguay, learning Spanish in Montevideo, living with a local family and that was a cool challenge. In the end, my Spanish was again just about enough to get by in Spanish speaking countries. I passed the course and continued my travels. The Spanish came in useful of course as I later backpacked through places like El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Nicaragua.
In 2015, while based back in Lam Tin, Hong Kong, I spent a month in Hong Kong learning Cantonese (written in traditional Chinese). This was the toughest language challenge to date. But somehow my wandering heart didn’t hang around. I finished the first 4 weeks of an 8 week course but I was off backpacking in Bangladesh soon after. I never finished the course and I only returned to Hong Kong once since, to collect my belongings and relocate to Poland.
Then in 2016, it was the first time I lived in Eastern Europe for longer than a month. I decided to stay put in Gdańsk for a while and the natural move was to start learning Polish. I think this is one of the biggest challenges of my travels yet as I attempt to read, write and speak Polish. I want to be good at Polish. With Chinese it was only speaking really. I first enrolled as a student at Polish in Gdańsk in July 2016 after meeting Pani Alina. Despite being busy and some troubles in the past few months, I have still managed to keep learning and had 2 more lessons in December 2016. Moving into 2017, I then started study at Klub Dialogu at Warsaw’s Swankaday Nowy Swiat.
My teacher in Gdansk is Pani Alina, last summer typically my classes each day were from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, with an hour of homework and however long I wanted to dedicate myself to additional learning. Sometimes I also have lessons with Pani Alicja if Pani Alina is not there. Everytime I return to Gdansk now, I try to line up a lesson with Pani Alina.
I study in Room 121 on the first floor of the building called Dom Harcerza on Ulica Za Murami 2/10, 22-100 Gdańsk Old Town – https://www.domharcerza.pl/
I was studying Monday to Fridays only. This gives me weekends free for backpacking, writing and socialising. I am getting intensive 1 to 1 lessons. I started off in my first week by learning simple everyday phrases, learning how the alphabet letters are pronounced, a few nouns, a few adjectives and a few verbs. I can also count from 1-100 in Polish now.
I’m now busy blogging, and working in Warszawa. But it was in Starogard Gdanski that I finished writing my book in July 2016, and life is action packed here, but I am enjoying this new challenge and look forward to sharing my story again in July 2017, once I know a little bit more Polish. I am so glad I ended up in Gdańsk, studying Polish and that backpacking ended. Life was stale for a while in my life, depression was major league soccer and I finally found a home to stay, where I haven’t ever not felt at home.
“Warsaw skies they won’t rain on you” – Jonny Blair, 2007.
My Polish classes are right in the heart of Old Town Gdańsk, which is amazing! Here are the details for booking Polish lessons here in Gdańsk:
- ul. Za Murami 2, p. 121
80-823 Gdańsk, POLAND
Telephone: +48 534 996 030
Skype: Polish in Gdansk
As I was not blogging as much as I used to, here are some photos from my first few weeks in Poland in 2016, before I decided to live here long term. As you can see, life is damn busy and I am having fun again! #dontstopliving #northernirishmaninpoland